Riel Miller


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Connecting Research and Policy in the Digital Economy: Possibility Space Scenarios & 21st Century Transitions

As transformações oportunizadas pelo século XXI

João Jose Saraiva da Fonseca


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  • Common structure for the conferences: Analysis of past & present Forces driving change What is within our grasp Combine plausible with desirable - policy
  • Book is out - consensus was: leaps in info and bio essentially much better, more efficient production and use of information in all domains - better access to the rapidly growing base of human knowledge One of the important, perhaps necessary - although certainly not sufficient conditions for a leap is the emergence of a series of technologies that could become pervasive - meaning part of many different activities and which open up for wide diffusion new uses and activities that were either too expensive or not feasible in the past. Provide examples... Technology - tools are enablers - open up possibilities without determining which ones will be taken. There are many choices to be made - which direction research takes, what tools are used for, extent of diffusion - all the outcome of a complex mix of political, social, market and cultural forces.
  • Book is out - main findings were: Important to distinguish long-run dynamism and long boom - both seem plausible Transformation is usually associated with a wave - strong growth that is above the long-run average Main attributes of each: LR Dyn Systemic chemistry & catalysts: Co-evolution of democracy & market forces Pluralism, transparency, openness Values that balance liberty & responsibility Long-boom Pushing fast productivity growth: Learning intensive economy & society Much fuller global integration Pursuit of environmental sustainability
  • Social foundations in transition Industrialisation Market based society Creative society Global exposure
  • What is governance? Capacity to make & implement decisions in all areas of activity Where is governance going? Away from top-down hierarchy & pre-determined allocation of authority Towards distributed responsibility & flexible assignment of roles Need for capacity enabling policies Two features of governance may be turned upside down: - hierarchy - initative and knowledge used by everyone, autonomy, responsibility - fixed allocation of authority - move to task based, flexible subsidarity Two conclusions from conference series - improved governance is key to unlocking tech, econ and social dynamism - policies that advance tech, econ and social dynamism can play major role in imporving governance Symbiosis between conclusions - because desireable change will be both a consquence and cause of the diffusion of power and responsibility.
  • Common structure for the conferences: Analysis of past & present Forces driving change What is within our grasp Combine plausible with desirable - policy
  • - when - it depends on the period - sometimes it is consolidation and preservation that is essential - at other times it is change. - change is always incremental, but over a particular period it can accumulate to become radical shift - slow and fast are relative terms and particularly relative to capacity - we are the ones driving the world around us and if we are diriving fast it is mostly because we have the capacity and desire to do so - we are not victimsand if the speed of change is really way beyond capacity the brakes come on through failures and slowdowns that are imposed by incapacity - Model T vs jet… - change is both voluntary and involuntary - people desire better and people are forced to make choices to get it - eg. Immigration.
  • Riel Miller

    1. 1. OECD International Futures Programme Connecting Research and Policy in the Digital Economy: Possibility Space Scenarios & 21st Century Transitions Post-Conference Workshop Washington DC, January 29, 2003 Riel Miller
    2. 2. “ All the bad predictions have the same buried assumption – the future will be just like the present but better. But the future is not like the past.” William Wulf, Jan. 28, 2003
    3. 3. Pushing the premises <ul><li>Continuity versus transition: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Could incremental radical change, facilitated by IT and other new tools, transform OECD societies over the next thirty years? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Trends versus possibilities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can we begin to rigorously imagine disjuncture in ways that point to how policy needs to break with the past? </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Presentation outline <ul><li>A. 21st Century Transitions: Possibility map example </li></ul><ul><li>B. Implications for policy & research </li></ul>
    5. 5. A. 21st Century Transitions: A possibility map example <ul><li>Incremental radicalism transforms everyday life </li></ul><ul><li>Within one or two generations </li></ul><ul><li>Disrupts most institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Alters culture & values </li></ul>Technology Economy Governance Society
    6. 6. <ul><li>Pervasive tools </li></ul><ul><li>Part of daily life </li></ul><ul><li>Tools simplify & enable complexity </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t think of the tool, think of its use </li></ul><ul><li>Contingent on socio-economic change </li></ul>Technology possibility space Technological dynamism “ Technology is not destiny ”
    7. 7. Technology possibility space Ease of use Simple Difficult Limited & homogeneous Unlimited & heterogeneous Range of uses
    8. 8. Economic possibility space <ul><li>Nature of production & consumption </li></ul><ul><li>Organisational attributes of wealth creation </li></ul><ul><li>Predominant type of economic activity </li></ul>“ Beyond mass-production and consumption ” Economic dynamism
    9. 9. Fusing of supply & demand Unpredictable tasks - creativity Imposed Authority Freedom to initiate Predictable tasks - repetition A learning economy & society Mass-era worker and consumer Empowered team-worker, informed shopper Artist Future consumer/ producer - cyber creator
    10. 10. Social possibility space <ul><li>Attributes of identity: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>dynamics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Patterns of social status </li></ul><ul><li>Ecology of culture </li></ul>Social dynamism
    11. 11. Hetero-geneous/small Homo-geneous /large Decisions - what, where, when, with whom, how Less choice More choice Scale of social affiliation /identity Identity & choice Mass-era Learning society Beyond the dualism of individual vs collective
    12. 12. Governance possibility space <ul><li>Capacity to make & implement decisions in all areas of activity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Distribution of power </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Primary organisational forms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resilience (risk handling & perception) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pace of decision making </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extent to which best information is used </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Networking capacity - right balance between homogeneity & heterogeneity </li></ul></ul>Dynamic Governance
    13. 13. Capacity to make & implement decisions
    14. 15. Before and after <ul><li>Wealth, rules, governance, values </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical/financial vs human capital </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simple vs complex property rights </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex-ante vs real-time allocation of power </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Quality of life </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mass production vs production for self/community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Life organized for work vs work organized for life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hierarchy vs autonomy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Imposed identity vs self-generated identity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sen’s definition of “freedom” </li></ul></ul>
    15. 16. B. Implications of possibility space analysis for public policy <ul><li>Allows visioning radical changes </li></ul><ul><li>Offers systemic perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasizes synergies & the contingent nature of large scale/long-run change </li></ul><ul><li>Focuses policy intervention </li></ul><ul><li>Poses clearer options </li></ul><ul><li>Allows for multiple paths to similar outcome </li></ul>
    16. 17. Are we in a period of transition or consolidation? <ul><li>Negative indicators of transition: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extreme polarization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authority gaps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutional decay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identity crises </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Positive indicators of transition: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New spaces for innovation to succeed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New networks become sustainable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential greater than actual </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Does consolidation seem to be a feasible strategy? </li></ul>
    17. 18. Implications of 21st Century Transitions for policy <ul><li>Goals - encouraging transition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creativity & greater capacity to govern </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Common values & heterogeneity of expression </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Roles - facilitating re-composition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Proliferation of sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diffusion of the peripheral </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Methods - linking form & function </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Experimentalism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning by doing (means as ends, process as product) </li></ul></ul>
    18. 19. Implications of 21st Century Transitions for policy <ul><li>Policies that do not work: </li></ul><ul><li>Doing no harm - dot.com aftermath </li></ul><ul><li>Ignoring the value of the commons </li></ul><ul><li>Protecting old business models </li></ul><ul><li>Not establishing level playing fields </li></ul><ul><li>Abdicating new governance challenges </li></ul>
    19. 20. Implications of 21st Century Transitions for research <ul><li>Goals - explore transition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rigorous assessment of plausible, not just probable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explore synergy & dissonance; positive & negative role of conflict/cooperation, divergence/convergence </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Role - expand and sharpen debate on possible, probable & desirable long-run futures </li></ul><ul><li>Methods - history of the future & cross-discipline analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Involve a wider range of views & experiments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Systematically comb the periphery for seeds of tomorrow’s diversity </li></ul></ul>
    20. 21. Cross-cutting guidelines for promoting 21st Century Transitions <ul><li>Areas for new rules, standards & conventions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Validation & recognition of property & assets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Building trust & common languages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Metrics, benchmarks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Encourage quality of opportunity by focusing on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on assets - human & social capital </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leading & lagging edges - dynamic gaps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inclusion through diversification </li></ul></ul>
    21. 22. Making the future a discipline <ul><li>How is it that each morning when we wake up the world around us restarts, functioning – at least most of the time – much as it did the day before? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the plausible ways that daily life might be reproduced in the future? </li></ul>“ history of the future ”
    22. 23. Five axioms <ul><li>Axiom 1 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>uncertainty increases with time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Axiom 2 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>change is both absolute and relative </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Axiom 3 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>over time metrics and benchmarks change </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Axiom 4 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>change depends on capacity, capacity changes over time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Axiom 5 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>imagination grounded in explicit assumptions </li></ul></ul>
    23. 24. Thank you www.oecd.org/futures [email_address] Money Technology Economy Society Governance
    24. 25. “ Hubris of the now” <ul><li>Slow vs fast </li></ul><ul><li>Incremental vs radical </li></ul><ul><li>Voluntary vs involuntary </li></ul><ul><li>Preservationism vs dynamism </li></ul>